HC Deb 07 July 1817 vol 36 cc1303-4
Mr. Brougham

brought up the report of the committee on the Education of the Poor. He said, that the report contained a description of many enormous abuses attending the management and application of charitable funds. One instance he had mentioned on a former occasion, which was that of a rector, who was principal of a school, with a salary of 1,500l. per annum, and who assigned the whole to his brother, another clergyman. The latter not choosing to perform the duties of the office, made a journeyman carpenter the schoolmaster, with an allowance of 40l. a-year. This small sum was, however, so much grudged by the rev. gentleman, that the irregular payment of it led to the knowledge of the whole transaction, There was another instance of a school, in the north of England, with an endowment for the master of 400l. a-year, in which there was but one scholar. Had the powers of the committee been less limited, many similar cases would probably have fallen under their notice. The reason of the committee proposing no immediate legislative measure was, that it appeared to them that the objects of their inquiry would be best intrusted to a parliamentary commission, composed of persons whose abilities fitted them for the undertaking, and who would be enabled to visit different parts of the country. The expense of this commission need be but small, and might be defrayed by a small percentage on the money recovered by their exertions.

Mr. Serjeant Onslow

bore testimony to the zeal, knowledge, and indefatigable exertions manifested by his hon. and learned friend in the production of this report. He was sure that the subject could not be in better hands, and he had only to wish that the inquiries of the committee might be extended to the state of education amongst the lower classes, and to the state of all endowed institutions whatever.